Farm and Forestry Production and Marketing profile for Moringa (Moringa oleifera)
Almost all parts of the moringa tree are used for food, oil, fiber, and/or medicine. In the Pacific, the most important products are pods and leaves. Young pods are consumed as a vegetable. Very young pods are fiberless, and can be cooked like string beans. Because the weight is low on very young pods, most commercial production involves larger, more fibrous pods that are used in soups, stews, and curries. The nutritious leaves are eaten in many dishes including soups, stews, and stir fries. Sauteed young leaves and flowers are also eaten. The demand for home consumption of pods and leaves can generally be met by one or two backyard trees.
Commercial production of mature seeds for oil occurs in India, Africa, and elsewhere. The press cake left over after extracting seed oil is utilized as a fertilizer and as a flocculent for water clarification. The seed cake contains positively charged compounds that are effective in settling suspended solids out of water (flocculation) because most particles have a net negative surface charge while suspended in aqueous solution. There is international interest in using moringa- based flocculants as a locally produced, biodegradable substitute for aluminum sulfate, which is commonly used to clarify water. The seed cake is normally not used as livestock feed because of the presence of antinutritional compounds in the mature seeds.